Research Info
  • Title: Understanding visitor beliefs to change behaviour
  • Researcher Name(s): Philip Whitfield
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Forest management work can be hazardous. Managers need to periodically close recreation trails for safety reasons. Forestry Commission Scotland staff however regularly encounter visitors ignoring closure signs. The study was carried out at Forestry Commission Scotland’s Glentress mountain bike trail centre in the Scottish borders.

Specific Research Objectives

This thesis explores the application of persuasive communication approaches to identify visitor’s salient beliefs about safety closure compliance; understanding that might then be used to craft more effective message signs. The work also aimed to investigate study methodologies that might have practical application for managers, beyond a research setting.

The behaviour and behavioural beliefs of mountain bikers were sampled on encountering a trail closure.

The behavioural beliefs of mountain bikers are discussed in relation to trail closure compliance, exploring the likely impacts of message elements and persuasion strategies.

Recommendations are made for crafting further persuasive communication messages for trail closures.

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